It’s been nine days since the Boston Red Sox agreed to sign free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli to a three-year, $39 million contract and, according to Ken Rosenthal, there was supposed to be a press conference in Boston on Tuesday to introduce the slugger. That presser never happened and now there are questions as to whether or not there was an issue with Napoli’s physical that may place the deal in jeopardy.
Initial reports from ESPN.com and the Providence Journal said that Napoli’s physical was scheduled for last Wednesday, with an announcement expected at week’s end.
Napoli actually began his physical Monday morning, according to a source. The deal, however, is still not official.
To assume there was an issue with the physical is purely speculative until we get word form the parties involved and so far, they aren’t talking. For what it’s worth, Will Carroll of Sports Illustrated tweeted the following early Wednesday morning.
Each MLB player takes an “exit physical” at end of each season. Everything is noted. Napoli passed his at end of ’12 season.
— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) December 12, 2012
Is it possible that Boston’s exam showed something that wasn’t found when Napoli was screened in Texas two months ago? Of course it is. In the case that this deal falls apart, Boston will still have some viable options on the open market and Napoli likely won’t have trouble finding work either. The guess here is that whatever it is that’s caused the delay, if it is a medical issue, will simply result in a restructuring of some of the contract language. Stay tuned.